Mako Sica, named and inspired by the Badlands and the Native Americans who inhabited the area, traffics largely in slow builds and slow burns, creating a trance-inducing mix of improv and post-rock. The Chicago trio plays Gooski's on Sat., March 27, promoting its second album -- a 12-inch LP comprising all of three tracks.
The new LP, Dual Horizon, commences with a track called "I'toi," which reaches from a subdued start (featuring echoing vocal chants provided by Brent Fuscaldo) toward a frenetic mid-section. From drone to punk, then dissolving into free jazz, the track serves as both a narrative (with discernible words) and a sampler of the wide swath the band cuts stylistically.
Recorded live without overdubs, Dual Horizon is an improv document to be sure -- patience is a must for the listener, as it was for the musicians. A quieted and contemplative audience is rewarded with small surprises -- a ritualistic series of bell chimes in the third track, "Dunes," for example, and in several instances, volumes reduced to nearly zero.
Fuscaldo's vocals don't lay over the instrumental parts, but back them up: At its less raucous moments, Dual Horizon is downright worshipful in tone. It's the guitars of Fuscaldo and Przemyslaw Krzysztof Drazek, hanging over Mike Kendrick's nuanced percussion, that really give the energy to the record's elongated pieces.
When the trio brings the music live, an attentive audience will profit: The reward in Mako Sica lies in the quiet nuance and meditative qualities of its slow, churning improvisation.
Mako Sica with Tusk Lord Band and Van Allen Belt. 10 p.m. Sat., March 27. Gooski's, 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658
- Children of dunes: Mako Sica